J&J pulls Aveeno, Neutrogena spray sunscreens over cancer risk


Johnson & Johnson is pulling out its Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreens from US stores after some samples showed presence of benzene — a potentially cancer-causing chemical.

“While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products. We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited to certain aerosol sunscreen products,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The recalled sunscreen products are packaged in aerosol cans. These include Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen, and four Neutrogena sunscreen versions: Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen and UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen.

The company noted that although the levels detected in the testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences, it cautions against the use of the products.

“Consumers should stop using these specific products and appropriately discard them,” the statement said.

The company, which is one of the world’s biggest sellers of consumer health products by sales, said it is also notifying distributors and retailers to stop selling the products, and arranging for the return of the products.

Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure. It is ubiquitous in the environment, and humans around the world have daily exposures indoors and outdoors from multiple sources. Benzene can be absorbed, to varying degrees, by inhalation, through the skin, and orally.